Chances are you hated homework when you were a kid, so you understand why your own child gets frustrated with it. But getting into the habit of doing homework now instills essential study skills your little one will have to call back on if they decide to pursue a higher education.
Homework also teaches your child independence and creative-thinking skills they can use throughout their life even if they don’t decide to go to university. It teaches them about time management, responsibility and perseverance while helping boost their self-esteem with every new thing they learn. And, of course, they have to do their homework if they want to keep up with the curriculum at hand.
It’s not easy getting a kid motivated to do their homework if they get a feeling of dread in their stomach just thinking about it. Making study time a regular part of their daily routine while using positive reinforcement to encourage them helps make it a little less difficult.
Routine is Key
Children respond well to routines and schedules. Expecting exactly what they are supposed to do throughout the day helps alleviate anxiety and provides a sense of security. The structure also instills good habits that lead to a successful adulthood. When planning your child’s routine, make sure there is a dedicated time for homework, even when they are not in school. Taking an hour or two out of their day to practice math skills, catch up on the latest news in science, or simply get lost in a book is a great way to enhance their natural intelligence every day of the year.
Furthermore, use this time yourself to do something homework related, whether that means catching up on your actual 9 to 5 duties or simply reading yourself. Seeing you participate will encourage your child’s ideas that study time is an essential part of every person’s day.
Here’s a good sample routine for after-school hours from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Modify it based on your child’s needs and personal schedule.
3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Kids come home, take off shoes, put up their belongings, and wash up.
3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.:After-school snack -- Choose something healthy.
4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.: Time to do homework: Doing it right after a small break gets it over with. If they don’t have any homework scheduled, they still need to do something study-related, everyday. Repetition is the key to making healthy habits.
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.: Dinnertime: Have children help you cook and serve your family meal.
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Family free time: Let them play outside, watch a television show, or indulge them in some positive reinforcement you promised in return for finishing their homework in time. If they still have homework they didn’t finish before dinner, this is the time to do it.
8 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.: Time to tidy up and wind down for the night. Put away toys, take a warm bath, get into pajamas, brush teeth and cozy up in bed with a good book.
8:45 p.m. - 9 p.m.: Bedtime reading, and then lights out.
Positive Reinforcement Ideas
When a lot of parents think of “positive reinforcement,” they automatically think of paying their kids to do what they want them to do. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a little cash incentive now and then, getting creative with your rewards can provide you with plenty of bonding opportunities that will enhance your relationship as a parent with your child. Plus, focusing on experiences as rewards instead of material things teaches children to be less materialistic.
- Have fun learning and make “magic” with a science experiment that your kids will want to show all their friends. The Rainbow Magic Milk experiment is a great one.
- If your kid is a tech wiz, consider investing in a kid-friendly laptop that they can use to play fun educational activities. They can engage in these low-key educational games as part of their free time. Look into models including the AWOW Mini Touch Screen Windows 2-in-1 Laptop, DirAction Classmate PC NL2 and the VTech – Brilliant Creations Beginner Laptop.
- If your child is artistic, getting them involved in a craft project you can pursue during the free time block is a great way to encourage their creativity while doing something they love.
It’s understandable when kids hate homework. However, the benefits of studying everyday outweigh the costs. Get your child into a steady schedule that always makes time for learning. Use positive reinforcement to encourage their success.
Julia created befriendyourdoc.org to share tips she has developed to help patients be their own advocate in seeking medical care, dealing with insurance companies, and contributing to their own health and well-being. Please visit her site at befriendyourdoc.org
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